Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Blogging 101

Those Time journos who have taken up blogging are certainly getting a harsh introduction to the blogosphere in the form of criticism from other blogs and commenters.

This time Joe Klein is getting reamed for, as Atrios says, being an influential pundit who wants to escape responsiblity for his influence. Of course, Klein has been getting reamed, anyway, but now he's blogging and having to deal directly and contemporaneously with criticism.

James in comments of the time-blog, Swampland (16th comment down) has some advice for Klein which everyone should heed when taking up blogging:
Blogging tends to expose you not only to frank and open discussion of your well- and ill-thought out positions and statements both current and past, but also to people who like to pile on gratuitously. It's hard and even shocking at first, but ultimately can result in a healthy dialogue that is lacking in your Beltway fantasy world. First the thicker skin must develop. Then comes the ability to separate the cogent points from the chaff.

What can be shocking is the initial exposure of your pontifications to immediate and frank and honest feedback in real time. It is like putting yourself out there naked to the world. You have this comfortable little vision of yourself and your opinions, reinforced by your smiling and backslapping colleagues who are no less removed from the real world. To have your opinions discussed and examined and turned over and inside out is disconcerting and maybe uncomfortable, but it's a healthy thing and it makes you a better pundit.

It's rarely productive to return a gratuitous attack gratuitously. Ya know what really gets them? A gracious and classy response. It doesn't get you the extra hits though. Heh.

Most normal bloggers do a lot of reading of blogs first. We learn the culture and the rules.

The Big Media journos apparently don't. They seem to think there's nothing to it. But as they are finding out, if you allow comments, you can't really spout off irresponsible nonsense without someone calling you on it, and you'd better be prepared to defend yourself, preferably with aplomb, humor and eloquence rather than whining. (Hmmm, I wonder why so many right wing bloggers don't allow comments?)

And I am quite shocked that people so high up in the media establishment don't have thicker skins. Pither and I had to develop thicker skins very low on the establishment rung, and Pither has continued to run into people sub-network and sub-national exposure who have much thicker skins than national figures like Joe Klein.


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